Flat silicon solar cells are the standard for solar technology implementations, due to the simplicity of its form and the low cost of its material. However, the bare material of such a technology is known to suffer from high reflectivity and low solar conversion efficiency. Engineered surfaces (e.g., textured) and bulk structures (e.g., quantum dots) are often used to diminish the reflection and enhance the efficiency, but such processes come at the expense of complexity and cost. The proposed work responds to these challenges by introducing a new architecture for traditional silicon solar technology. The architecture takes the form of a Smart Solar Sensing (S-Cubed) Array. It consists of a macroscopic close-packed array of corner-cube- (CC-) shaped solar cells. Each CC-cell has three silicon solar cells lining its interior corners. The three silicon solar cells establish multiple internal reflections for enhanced overall absorption. At the same time, the impedances of the three silicon solar cells in each CC-cell of the S-Cubed Array can be sensed and independently matched to a common load. This allows for maximized electric power transfer to the load over a broad range of illumination conditions. It is shown in this work that the collected energy density of the CC-cell array, over the course of a day, can be increased by 33.02% when compared to an array of conventional (flat) silicon solar cells. Such findings can lay the groundwork for future implementations of high-efficiency solar technology.
Optical wireless (OW) technologies are an emerging field utilizing optical sources to replace existing radio wavelength technologies. The vast majority of work in OW focuses on communication; however, one smaller emerging field is indoor OW positioning. This emerging field essentially aims to replace GPS indoors. One of the primary competing methods in indoor OW positioning is angle-of-arrival (AOA). AOA positioning uses the received vectors from several optical beacons to triangulate its position. The reliability of this triangulation is fundamentally based on two aspects: the geometry of the optical receiver’s location compared to the optical beacon locations, and the ability for the optical receiver to resolve the incident vectors correctly. The optical receiver is quantified based on the standard deviation of the azimuthal and polar angles that define the measured vector. The quality of the optical beacon geometry is quantified using dilution of precision (DOP). This proceeding discusses the AOA standard deviation of an ultra-wide field-of-view (FOV) lens along with the DOP characteristics for several optical beacon geometries. The optical beacon geometries used were simple triangle, square, and hexagon optical beacon geometries. To assist the implementation of large optical beacon geometries it is proposed to use both frequency and wavelength division multiplexing. It is found that with an ultra-wide FOV lens, coupled with the appropriately sized optical beacon geometry, allow for high accuracy positioning over a large area. The results of this work will enable reliable OW positioning deployments.
There are severe limitations that photoconductive (PC) terahertz (THz) antennas experience due to Joule heating and ohmic losses, which cause premature device breakdown through thermal runaway. In response, this work introduces PC THz antennas utilizing textured InP semiconductors. These textured InP semiconductors exhibit high surface recombination properties and have shortened carrier lifetimes which limit residual photocurrents in the picoseconds following THz pulse emission—ultimately reducing Joule heating and ohmic losses. Fine- and coarse-textured InP semiconductors are studied and compared to a smooth-textured InP semiconductor, which provides a baseline. The surface area ratio (measuring roughness) of the smooth-, fine-, and coarse-textured InP semiconductors is resolved through a computational analysis of SEM images and found as 1.0 ± 0.1, 2.9 ± 0.4, and 4.3 ± 0.6, respectively. The carrier lifetimes of the smooth-, fine-, and coarse-textured InP semiconductors are found as respective values of 200 ± 6, 100 ± 10, and 20 ± 3 ps when measured with a pump-probe experimental system. The emitted THz electric fields and corresponding consumption of photocurrent are measured with a THz experimental setup. The temporal and spectral responses of PC THz antennas made with each of the textured InP semiconductors are found to be similar; however, the consumption of photocurrent (relating to Joule heating and ohmic losses) is greatly diminished for the semiconductors that are textured. The findings of this work can assist in engineering of small-scale PC THz antennas for high-power operation, where they are extremely vulnerable to premature device breakdown through thermal runaway.
Biosensing is important for detection and characterization of microorganisms. When the detection and characterization of targeted microorganisms require micron-scale resolutions, optical biosensing techniques are especially beneficial. Optical biosensing can be applied through direct or indirect optical sensing techniques. The latter have demonstrated especially high sensitivities for the detection of targeted microorganisms with labeling. Unfortunately, such systems rely on high-resolution microscopy with microscopic sampling areas to image the labeled target microorganisms. This leads to long characterization times for applications such as pathogen detection in water quality monitoring where users must scan the micron-scale sampling areas across millimeter- or even centimeter-scale samples. This work introduces retroreflector labels for the detection and characterization of microorganisms for macroscopic sample sizes. The demonstrated retroreflective imaging system uses a laser source to illuminate the sample, in lieu of the fluorescent excitation source, and micron-scale retroreflector labels, in lieu of fluorescent stains/proteins. Antibodies are used to bind retroreflectors to targeted microorganisms. The presence of these microscopic retroreflector-microorganism pairs is monitored in a retroreflected image that is captured by a distant image sensor which shows a well-localized retroreflected beamspot for each pair. Characteristics of an appropriately-designed retroreflective imaging system which provide a quantifiable record of microorganism-coupled retroreflectors across macroscopic sample sizes are presented. Retroreflection directionality, collimation, and contrast are investigated for both corner-cube retroreflectors and spherical retroreflectors (of varying refractive indices). It is ultimately found that such a system is an effective tool for the detection and characterization of microorganism targets, down to a single-target detection limit.
GaP is investigated for photoconductive terahertz (THz) generation. It is shown that the atypical bandstructure of GaP,
with a central high-mobility valley and low-mobility sidevalleys, can be exploited to form a transient high-mobility state.
The subsequent scattering and relaxation of hot electrons into and within the lower-mobility sidevalleys leaves the
material in a relaxed low-conduction state. The experimental and theoretical study shows that ultrafast transient mobility,
occurring over 800 fs, can create broadband THz pulses with reduced recovery times (and low leakage currents). The
impacts of these findings are discussed for efficient and portable next-generation THz systems.